For the other reviewers saying that you shouldn't pay attention to the negative reviews, I completely disagree. It's all about personal experience and perspective. What could be a fantastic vacation for some is a tremendously disappointing one for others. I really wish we had a wonderful experience like the others, especially for the amount of money we dished out for this vacation. We, along with two other families, stayed for a week at Grand Velas in February when it was pretty dead. Occupancy was very minimal. Needless to say, we will never return.... especially when there are so many other resorts that don't cost so much with much, much better service. If I were to rate it strictly on the property alone, it would be 4 stars but the service inconsistencies truly made us regret booking here.
Our family travels to Mexico twice a year, primarily to all-inclusives and we've been doing so for the last 6 years. We were really looking forward to staying at Grand Velas as we had heard about how great it was. We'd been told in the past that it was one of the top resorts in Riviera Maya. It is pricey and as such, we expected top notch service and amenities which unfortunately, we did not get. Rather than repeat what other reviewers have said, I will try to break down the differences/ comparisons to other all-inclusive resorts we have stayed.
The POSITIVES of staying at Grand Velas that you won't find at other all-inclusive resorts:
- no wristbands to indicate what kind of guest you are, therefore no harassment to sit down at a time-share presentation
- real hand towels in all the bathrooms (not paper towels)
- no towel cards (towels are already on the beach and pool chairs)
- nice plastic stemware/cups for your cocktails poolside/beachside (not the cheap cup kind)
- covers for the poolside/beachside food so that you can protect your food from the annoying, hovering black birds that end up pooping all over your stuff
- Nespresso machines in the rooms
- a great variety of snacks in the minibar
- straw beach bags to use for the pool/beach
- buckets of ice filled with bottled water poolside/beachside
- no vendors trying to hawk their wares on the beach
The POSITIVES in general:
- Bistro for breakfast and lunch... so much better than Azul but no kids allowed (we took turns going)
- the ZEN pool- such a relaxing, peaceful vibe compared to the main pool
- the bread at Piaf- delicious... could've eaten the whole basket
The NEGATIVES of Grand Velas which ended up outweighing the positives which is why we will never return:
- service was really inconsistent... we always tip at all-inclusives (we bring about $200 in singles/fives per week solely for tip)... some of the staff were excellent and eager to please but the majority were awful and could care less about their job... an example: on our first full day, after breakfast, we were at the pool. I walked up to the bar by the pool and asked for an iced tea with Equal or Splenda. The waiter acted like he had no idea what I was talking about... so I clarified "fake sugar? Saccharin?". He replies "we don't have that here." I said "yes you do. I had it with my coffee at Azul." He says "they're separate from us. You can get it there...[pointing to Azul]" with absolutely no offer to go get some. I mean seriously?! Any of the other resorts we've stayed at, the waiters would have run to go get some. I really was stunned as I walked to Azul to get my Equal.
- dinner at Azul is so dark (need a flashlight to read the menu and then you can't really see what you're eating) and so so slow... dinner food at Azul is not good. It could be so much better too if it was buffet.
- even lunch at Azul, the waiters stood around chatting with each other or setting up empty tables rather than paying attention to occupied tables, which as I stated... about 10% of the tables were occupied since the resort was empty... ummm, we'd like some water or drinks please...
- the "bill" at the end of meals that many of the other reviewers have complained about... not only is it super annoying BUT be AWARE... there were two occasions that the servers added a tip which we discovered at check-out which we never included since we pay all our tips in cash. Pay attention to your check out bill and to be safe, cross out the tip section and write the final amount on the bottom so this does not happen to you...
- food was very inconsistent at their "top-rated" restaurants. We were three families that split up for the adult-only dinners so we could try each restaurant and one group would have a fantastic meal where another group would not... all within the same night... at the same restaurant. We found many of the dishes to be overly salty. Some dishes were fantastic and some really tried but the accompanying sauces were not so good.... trying to be unique but not complimenting the dish.
- internet- super slow, especially when you have to pay per device... for the price of your stay, internet really should be included...
- "top shelf liquor" is watered down. We know our bodies and our alcohol limits and know how many drinks it takes to get a buzz... when you're drinking throughout the day to enjoy your vaca and you're not catching a buzz... c'mon now.... this is pretty typical at ALL the all-inclusives we've been to but expected different due to the hype of this 'high end' resort.
- the in-room safe is not secured... it should be bolted down or secured in some way but it is not... hence, it can easily be removed from the room... no surprise that other guests have had stuff stolen.
We met another family on this trip who shared with us that they too were really disappointed with this resort... their neighbor had raved about this place and this family we met could not, like us, understand why. I imagine service must have been better in the past. For this kind of money, I wish I had booked Fairmont Mayakoba or Banyan Tree instead. Live and learn...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Grand Velas Riviera Maya is one of the newest resorts to distinguish Riviera Maya as a premier vacation destination. The uniquely Mexican world-class hospitality we provide is "Beyond All Inclusive, Beyond All Compare", and we are proud to be the only family-friendly All Inclusive resort in the Mexican Caribbean to have been rated Five Diamonds by the AAA. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort, Riviera Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Grand Velas All Suites And Spa Resort, Riviera Maya
- Grand Velas Hotel Riviera Maya
- Grand Velas Riviera Maya Mexico - Playa Del Carmen